MORE OF THE LATEST COMICS REVIEWED FOR YOUR READING!
We pulled more of the latest issues for review, however, there is a clear favorite for Pick of the Week!
ABSOLUTE CARNAGE #1
Writers: Donny Cates
Artist: Ryan Stegman
Cover Price: $7.99
This event has been relentlessly teased over the last few months. Does it deserve all of the work that’s gone into it?
Donny Cates succeeds in scaring me. While events with Carnage feel very similar to me, Absolute Carnage seriously punches up the threat. The story has the prerequisite MacGuffins to find and pyrrhic allies. Meanwhile, the dialogue for both Eddie Brock and Spider-Man is well in-character. In addition, the dialogue for both also strongly establish the threat that this version of Carnage presents. There is also pervasive darkness and urgency throughout this over-sized issue. After reading this comic, I am ready for more.
Additionally, Ryan Stegman’s art ramps up the storytelling. I will start by saying that his style isn’t generally to my interest. Stegman prefers lots of thin lines for details, and it can usually muddle things. However, Stegman’s art matches the dark tone by adding a serious amount of solid blacks to make more of the pages appear heavy or foreboding. This combined with the think detail lines and exaggerated facial features common in Stegman’s style creates a bizarre sense of urgency that gets translated to the reader. This is all storytelling synergy.
Absolute Carnage is not as terrifying to me as Immortal Hulk… However, it is close, and this is only the first issue. This has gone from a “meh” to a must-read.
SINESTRO – YEAR OF THE VILLAIN #1
Writers: Mark Russell
Artist: Yildiray Cinar
Cover Price: $4.99
If only all of the villain-centric issues DC puts out could be this good.
Mark Russell could have easily written the usual mustache-twirling, stereotypical super-villain. Instead, Russell went the other direction. Sinestro is depicted as a master of subterfuge, manipulation, and foresight. I am surprised by how natural this move is. This could have been another show of power of one of DC’s most prominent nemeses. Moreover, most of the story has exposition via internal monologue. In those boxes, Russell avoids any talk of Hal Jordan or any Green or Yellow Lanterns. This is just a story of Sinestro’s deviousness and the isolation lets him shine.
The art by Yildiray Cinar is not bad, however it isn’t a standout. Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing really wrong with the art. The outer lines are bold to add pop to the charcters. The detail is small, though a bit scratchy. Mini-lines are used for gradients. The backgrounds are decent. Meanwhile, action in this issue is a bit cluttered, but easy to follow. Even the backgrounds have enough details to be interesting. My issue is that there is no standout aspect of the art. It is all good, however this comic needs something outstanding to the visuals. People may disagree with me, although that is how I feel about it.
Despite its faults, this is a good issue. I only hope DC’s editorial keeps this nuanced Sinestro for more stories.
COFFIN BOUND #1
Writers: Dan Waters
Cover Price: $3.99
Well, this is certainly an interesting ride.
Dan Waters’ dialogue is the standout part of this issue. The dialogue has a near lyrical quality to it that feels like it adds a certain poetry to the harsh nature of the story. It is the comic-book equivalent of HBO’s Deadwood. The characters are as mercurial as the rest of the story. However, the mystery adds to the mystique of this comic.
The artist is Dani and they have an interesting style. While their characters are easily expressive enough to imply emotion, there is a bit of energy missing from the motion. There is a lack of inertia that hampers both the action and the character’s movements. Meanwhile, everything has an odd etherial feel that does add to the comic’s story. Moreover, there’s interesting details sprinkled everywhere that are up to the reader to imagine their importance.
I cannot say for sure if I do or do not like this comic. Although, I can say that I want to see how it ends.
PICK OF THE WEEK
HOUSE OF X #2
Writers: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Pepe Larraz
Cover Price: $4.99
You hear it all of the time. “This is the issue where everything changes!” Except… this time… it’s true.
Jonathan Hickman’s promised retcon of the X-Men’s history has dropped hints of what’s to come before. However this issue has dropped its first truly transformative bombshell. Without changing the X-Men’s present, Hickman has woven a tale that makes long-time and new readers question where this story will take them. The characterization is almost entirely around one individual. However, it is strong characterization. It is difficult to properly discuss the issue without deep-diving into spoilers. Meanwhile, the addition of faux computer files to explain some of the major plot points and developments is a nice touch that brings more story without overloading the reader.
Meanwhile, Larraz’s art is still a visual feast. He has to draw the same characters in multiple scenarios and make them feel radically different. He succeeds on all levels. Meanwhile, the bits of combat all have vastly different flavors despite a lot of it happening to and with one character in particular. I do want to especially call attention to Larraz’s backgrounds. They are gorgeous additions to most panels. He is even careful to add shadows, shapes, and colors to some of the sparse backgrounds to prevent any environment from being too flat or boring. Do not underestimate how important Pepe Larraz is to House of X.
I cannot get over how much the revelation of one character being a mutant is to the history of the X-Men. Moreover, this mutant has seen nine different potential paths for mutants and has tried working with Xavier, Magneto, Apocalypse, and alone. All paths seem to lead to genocide via Sentinels. Now, we have a story that hasn’t ended there yet. Although Powers of X indicates that we are heading for another machine-ruled future. Does this revelation move us towards a future where mutants and humans survive, let alone co-exist?
Even after reading the first issues of this story, I was not prepared for so sweeping a revelation as in House of X #2. This has the making of a story to remember, and we’re only in the second issue.
What did you think of the House of X #2 surprise? Let us know in the comments below! In the meantime, here is a link to the latest episode of our comic book podcast, the Part-Time Henchmen!